Other for Ankle Sprain
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After numerous ankle sprains, I suggest the RICE method. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
Some heat (warm wash cloth) after icing helps with blood flow and swelling. Take some anti-inflammatory pills if its really swollen.
As suggested, only go to the doctor if the pain does not improve over a week or two.
I've done the whole ankle injury thing a couple of times (more than I would like). A lot of people here are listing good advice in terms of seeing a doctor. If you can, do it. If you are not able to, just wait it out, and take a break from ultimate. A gnarly sprain isn't exactly "doctor worthy." They're going to tell you to do your RICE technique (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) easy on the ice, and give you a boot that will be hella expensive if you don't have insurance.
Just from previous trial and error recoveries, I find absolute strict repetition in RICE technique and staying away from frisbee is vital. I usually start getting back into things by less intensive exercises like riding my bike or just walking and jogging lightly. Once you feel comfortable to run, just start doing light training.
And I totally forgot about this. Drink water. You will not heal if you do not hydrate yourself correctly. That and a combination of an OTC anti-inflammatory for any swelling.
- Chronicity 18+ Months
I have had a lot of pain and very stiff ankles for 2.5 years. I have had 2 prednisone treatments and a cortisone shot. The MRI on my left foot showed a little bit of bursitis. X-rays show no broken bones or spurs. The pain and tenderness and stiffness are on the inside ankle bone area. I have also tried cold ice baths and heat along with on the market pain relievers and nothing seems to work. I have also used a boot and am on crutches presently.
I have severe ankle problems. A pain on the inside part of the foot around the bone. My affliction is PTTD - Posterior Tibial Tendon Disorder. I have a job and insurance. I spend a lot of money on trying anything, even if not covered by insurance. A doctor finally put me in an immobilizer, a soft cast, up to the knee. I protested but gave in. This is the only thing that has helped. Not drugstore ankle braces. Not creams. Not acupuncture, etc. You can buy these "boots" yourself. Eight weeks. Sleep with a drugstore brace. Look for ankle therapy. You will find a lot of good info. Good luck.
Ankle sprains suck. R.I.C.E. as much as you can stand. Start range of motion and resistance band exercise as soon as you're cleared by a medical professional (usually once the swelling/pain is managable). Get a good brace and use it every time, even if you're just out for a stroll. (http://www.amazon.com/ASO-Ankle-Stabilizing-Orthosis-Black/dp/B000TGYI6C)
Further down the line, work on ankle stability (tree yoga pose, balance board, jumping rope)
Also (just in case you don't already do this) use the extra eyelet and lock lace your shoes (https://youtu.be/IijQyX_YCKA?t=22). I once left some shoes at my parents and my dad redid the laces for some reason (we have the same shoe size), and when I reclaimed them I didn't notice the extra loops were gone, along with any ankle stability. Guess what happened then.
Try turmeric, swimming and physical therapy. As a life long athlete with a variety of injuries including very bad and multiple sprains in both ankles, I deal with inflammation often. Weather is a contributor to inflammation but sugar and salt are hugely problematic. Keep training, run, swim, bike, yoga and try turmeric for swelling! My ankles are stronger today at age 50 than they were in my teens.
- Chronicity 18+ Months
I broke a piece of bone off my ankle seven and a half years ago. I have had complications from that because it was not removed for more than a year. I suffered subsequent nerve and soft tissue damage. I have had 11 procedures including the one to remove the broken bone. I have trouble walking, standing and cannot get up on my tip toes any more. I have been suffering in pain for a long time and still cannot manage it. I've tried non-medicinal ways through hydrotherapy, TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator), and different creams. I've also been on and off narcotics for years. Nothing seems to work.
- Chronicity 18+ Months
I have had plenty of ankle problem in the past 10 years.
After an ankle injury...
If you can walk without screaming in pain, it's not broken or fractured.
Ice it for the first few days. Very important and generally, this will speed up healing.
Elevate it when resting.
Heat packs work amazingly well.
If after a week you still have swelling or MAJOR pain, then you need to see a doctor.
I'd suggest applying heat to stimulate blood flow in the injured area. Ice will actually slow blood flow, so I wouldn't recommend using that. In my opinion, swelling is a good thing because it protects the joint and is a part of the body's natural healing process.
I've just recently recovered from tendonosis on the outside of my right ankle, and I used a heat pack on it every night. My Dr was amazed at how quickly it healed (2 months as opposed to the predicted 3 to 6 months), and I'm sure my quick recovery is because I didn't take any anti-inflammatories, did everything I could to stimulate blood flow to the area, got heaps of sleep, and let my body do it's own thing without too much interference.
Also, make sure you eat extra protein. Your body will need it to heal itself
- Chronicity 6-18 Months
The body has an astounding capacity to heal itself, given the right tools to do so--which include enhanced nutrient supplementation to reduce inflammation and rebuild tissue.
I've had two bad ankle sprains within the last ten years--the most recent in January. My foot looked like an elephant's by the morning after the sprain. Fortunately, because I'd just moved into a new apt. and had plenty of work to do, I was hobbling around the place all day instead of "elevating and icing" or "heating" or whatever this year's recommendation is.
Result: The swelling was almost gone in two days, because of the constant moving and flexing, i.e. encouraging normal blood flow. I did have my son bring me a sturdy ankle brace with rigid sides, to keep me from doing any further damage, and wearing that as tightly as I could bind it also helped force fluid out of the injury.
And nine months later I can do everything I did before, without pain or twinges--walk, go up and down stairs, bend, stand on one leg alternately while pulling on leggings, etc.
Oh--and I'm 65. Feel much younger...
I sprained the same angle twice in my adult life, once playing basketball and the other badly landing a jump on a rock. Even though the second one was bad, I used crutches for a few days and went back to exercising. Since then, I have hiked mountains with no problems, run a marathon at 68 and still do a lot of stuff on my feet. That angle seemed to have healed completely without the help of the medical profession. (I have been disappointed with my interaction with physical therapists to deal with other problems.)
- Chronicity 0 - 6 Months
I had twisted my ankle 8 years back on tree stump during a trail run. The ankle was painful and swollen big the next day and remained swollen for few days even with ice and hot treatments. Within a month I was back to running slowly and within two months completely normal. I run uneven trails on a regular basis that strengthens ankles. So let us not generalize to the "lifelong consequences." Everyone is different.
I used to play competitive ultimate frisbee for 15 or so years. I blew my ankle out 2-3 times a year during this time. Multiple times I ended up with "colors not typically found in nature" around my ankle (true "technicolor"). I have had no significant issues with my ankle since I retired from playing. Why? I remain very active (hiking, biking, etc). I think it'd be better once the swelling has abated if you did what Steadman/Hawkins told me - get back to your normal routine as fast as possible. The more you use it, the less issues you'll have with it. Your a$$ is for sitting on, not living on.
As a veteran of a fractured fibula in my teen years (and injury that included a severe ankle sprain) and several severe ankle sprains since then, here, here.
If you've had a sprained ankle, or several, I can personally recommend two things:
The Chinese herbal formula Dit Da Jow is extremely effective in reducing swelling. I had persistent swelling in my right ankle over a period of years, and apply DDJ reduced that by at least 90% within a half-hour of my beginning to use it.
See a physical therapist for strengthening and stretching exercises.
Lastly, multiple sprains were a factor in my developing plantar fasciitis. See a physical therapist, et c.
The problem with ice is that it causes stagnation of all of the fluids in the injured area well beyond the time when the splinting effect of swelling is useful. I have used a Chinese medicinal herbal poultice for ankle sprains. It is a bit messy, but easy to apply and cover with gauze and then a sock. It reduces the healing time by weeks or months. After years of running and climbing mountains I'm prone to sprains and now the San Huang San poultice is part of my first aid kit. I don't understand why it isn't more widely known, since it works so much better than the RICE method.
I've always ignored the RICE approach.
Why try to bring the swelling down? It's probably part of the body's natural reaction. Perhaps the swelling prevents further stretching / straining of tendons, etc.
Instead, I use a heating pad and try to get around as soon as possible. I find I heal much faster and back to full mobility within a week.
It's amazing how little the conventional wisdom is actually tested.
Find a chiropractor that does ART (Active Release Techniques) http://www.activerelease.com/providerSearch.asp#
I sprained my ankle about two years ago. I went to the chiropractor last year because my ankle was still right. A couple months later and it was good as new. Amazing results really.
Several years ago I sprained my left ankle in a fall which also broke the right ankle and leg. The right ankle and leg were screwed together with plates. All the tendons and ligaments were ripped. Lessons learned about bad ankles:
1) Find the best ankle orthopedic specialist you can — after three surgeries, he was the only one to find the piece of torn cartilage that was causing excruciating pain. He also removed the plates and screws, said that would help the pain and healing. The synovial fluid leak was also repaired (a tennis ball sized swelling).
2) Consider acupuncture as an adjunct therapy. It helped the pain and swelling and helped unlock frozen joints. One needle instantly unlocked the frozen left foot.
3) Writing the alphabet helps tremendously. I still do this eight years later.
4) The injury has resulted in bone on bone arthritis in the right ankle. I wear ankle high hiking boots a lot, and Mephisto sandals in summer. Good support is important. Getting up off the ground is difficult, and causes immediate problems in the right ankle. Using one of those gardening chairs with folding legs makes it possible to garden and mop floors. Pushing up using arms and left leg, rather than all the weight on the ankles is helpful.
5) Epsom salt soaks help swelling and circulation.
Hot water, and a cup of salts in a wash tub, for as long as you can stand it.
6) Good orthotics can help. If you can afford custom made, they are better. We prefer cork and leather, but they are hard to find. Easier to keep cool in hot weather.
My son is also blessed with pronated feet.
7) Don’t try to dance or run if you have the bone on bone arthritis. Even if your mind thinks you can, you’ll pay a price.
8) Some physical therapists are better than others. If you’re not making progress, change. One told me that I’d have better movement if the ankle were fused. Today it is not, and I have really good movement.